Higher Education Quick Takes

Quick Takes

April 15, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Larissa Samuelson, associate professor of psychology at the University of Iowa, demonstrates that playing with one's food might be a beneficial part of the learning process. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 15, 2014

A review by the University of Michigan's student government criticized the university for failing to explain a years-long delay in the punishment of a football player allegedly involved in raping a fellow student, The Detroit News reported. A report from a task force created by the Central Student Government also said that Michigan's football coach, Brady Hoke, "knowingly issued false statements" about the case of Brendan Gibbons, a football player who was expelled in December four years after his 2009 arrest for the alleged rape of another student. The case is also under review by the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights.

 

 

April 15, 2014

The United States' historical strength in biomedical research faces longterm decline because assumptions about never-ending growth have run headlong into a decade's worth of funding declines, a quartet of esteemed science leaders argues in a new article (abstract available here) in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors -- who include Harold Varmus, the former head of the National Institutes of Health, Shirley Tilghman, former president of Princeton University, Bruce Alberts, editor in chief of Science magazine, and Marc Kirschner, professor of systems biology at Harvard University -- argue that the funding buildup followed by shortfall has created an "unsustainable hypercompetitive" environment that is hampering the work of established scientists and discouraging new researchers from entering the field.

Among the group's recommendations are funding biomedical graduate students with training grants and fellowships instead of research grants, and awarding grants based more on the quality of the scientists than the merits of the projects.

April 15, 2014

Liberty University has removed some job duties from its provost, who will no longer serve as vice president of academic affairs, The Lynchburg News & Advance reported. The actions follow upon criticism that Provost Ron Godwin, in a video, appeared to endorse an unauthorized partnership between the university and a Texas-based faith healer. A statement from Liberty said that Godwin "will spend the next few years grooming his successors and guiding the team responsible for Liberty University’s pending 10 year accreditation reaffirmation report." Godwin said he should have verified the relationship before appearing in the video, and that “I have apologized to President Falwell for this error and am grateful that I can continue to contribute to Liberty University’s health and success."

 

April 15, 2014

The University of Memphis is seeking large cuts in out-of-state tuition, hoping to attract more students from outside Tennessee, The Commercial Appeal reported. Currently, out-of-state students pay $21,768 a year, and Tennessee residents pay $7,056. Under the proposal from the university, non-residents would pay $12,403 if they graduated from a high school within 250 miles of Memphis, and $18,768 otherwise.

 

April 14, 2014

The University of Missouri erred in its own policies and mishandled the case of Sasha Menu Courey, a Division I swimmer who said she’d been raped by one or more Missouri football players in 2010, and who later committed suicide, according to an investigative report by a group of independent lawyers. Missouri officials did not have the appropriate Title IX policies and procedures in place (in violation of federal law), and did not report relevant information to the Title IX coordinator who could have investigated the allegation, the report says. There is also no evidence that any officials other than medical personnel, who are bound by confidentiality laws, knew about the allegation while Menu Courey was alive.

April 14, 2014

Cardiff University abruptly called off plans on Thursday to announce its next chancellor, Wales Online reported. In Wales, as in England, university chancellors' role is largely ceremonial and it is the vice chancellor who is the equivalent of the American university president, but many academics care about who is named chancellor. At Cardiff, the university was expected to announce Thursday that Griff Rhys Jones, a comedian and television star, was to become chancellor. But news that an entertainer was up for the job led some faculty members to push for another term for Martin Evans, a biologist and Nobel laureate.

April 14, 2014

In today’s Academic Minute, Jeffrey Froh, associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University, shows the far reaching effects that gratitude has on children. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.

 

April 14, 2014

Al-Quds University is disavowing the efforts of one of its professors, Mohammed S. Dajani, who took 27 students at the Palestinian university where he teaches to Auschwitz, to try to teach empathy with Jews, The Washington Post reported. In another part of the effort, Israeli students were visiting the West Bank to learn from Palestinians about their lives and the hardships they face. A German foundation paid for the program, contrary to rumors that Jewish groups had paid. Dajani has been called a traitor by many Palestinians, although he is standing behind the idea.

April 14, 2014

Students at Rowan University are divided about having New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as graduation speaker this year, The South Jersey Times reported. Some are excited about having a famous political figure who still could be a candidate for president in 2016. Others think that his recent traffic scandal makes him an odd choice, and they don't want a divisive figure. On Twitter, one person had fun with Christie's woes, referring to Rowan's location and the date of commencement: "Time for some traffic problems in Glassboro May 16th."

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